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Renovating Older Homes Can Mean Asbestos Danger

The one thing a home renovation project shouldn't be is life threatening. If you are planning a make over project, especially on a home that is 40 years or older, protect yourself from deadly asbestos exposure...

Homeowners are spending more time and money than ever working on projects to make their homes more comfortable and raise the market value of a their biggest personal asset. Home renovation is a popular pastime that is well worth the effort. While it can be a stressful to renovate around family members living in the spaces you're working on, the end results usually make it a rewarding experience.

Older homes may be candidates for an renovating a kitchen that's too small, needs better lighting or upgraded kitchen appliances and cabinets. Replacing or installing insulation is a popular project with energy conscious home owners. Upgrading electrical systems and switches to provide power for modern appliances, tvs, computers and other recreational plugables is high on the do it yourself home owners list.

If you're thinking about one of these home improvement projects, you should be aware that more than 3,000 products containing asbestos were commonly used in house construction until the late 1970s. Asbestos was a popular material for furnace duct insulation, deck undersheeting, and roof and wall insulation. When renovating or demolishing an older home, there is a good chance you'll encounter at least some asbestos-containing materials.

While asbestos doesn't generally pose a health risk if it's in good condition, when it's fraying or crumbling, it can be hazardous. Most asbestos is securely contained in protective wrapping. As long as the fibers are safe inside, they can't harm you, but when you take on a do-it-yourself project, you may accidentally release the dangerous asbestos fibers into the air you breathe.

Asbestos fibres can be inadvertently disturbed and released into the air when you conduct a home renovation project. In the worst case scenario, exposure to asbestos fibres can result in lung cancer and other potentially fatal respiratory illnesses. So it's important to determine if asbestos is present before beginning work on your home. If you are unsure, seek professional help.

If asbestos-containing materials are found, don't panic - they can be safely removed and disposed of by trained and qualified workers. If the materials are found during work, stop work immediately and have qualified professionals remove the material before resuming the project.

Source... News Canada

More about asbestos health risks around the Web:

Asbestos Hazards When Renovating Older Homes (pdf)

Old House Restoration - Renovation Worries

Health Canada - Health Risks of Asbestos

Asbestos Exposure: Questions and Answers

 

also see in Health -> Occupational Health | Lung Cancer | Mesothelioma

also see -> Asbestos Dangers : A Homeowner's Field Guide



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